Browse Instagram on your iPad with InstaFlow

InstaFlow is a free iPad app that lets you browse Instagram photos and customize a homepage.

Matt Elliott Senior Editor
Matt Elliott is a senior editor at CNET with a focus on laptops and streaming services. Matt has more than 20 years of experience testing and reviewing laptops. He has worked for CNET in New York and San Francisco and now lives in New Hampshire. When he's not writing about laptops, Matt likes to play and watch sports. He loves to play tennis and hates the number of streaming services he has to subscribe to in order to watch the various sports he wants to watch.
Expertise Laptops, desktops, all-in-one PCs, streaming devices, streaming platforms
Matt Elliott
3 min read

I am a regular user of Instagram and a regular user of an iPad. When scrolling through my Instagram feed on my iPhone, I occasionally feel the need to take a closer look at a photo. Instagram does not offer an app with native support for the iPad, and blowing up the iPhone app on an iPad is not ideal. Thankfully, there are a number of apps that let you browse your Instagram feed on an iPad.

Instagram does not let you post photos with a third-party app, so you can't use these apps to upload a photo that you took with your iPad. These Instagram iPad apps, however, do offer a variety of fun and useful features, from commenting on and liking photos to sharing on other social networks and browsing Instagram via a map view.

InstaFlow is a free app that provides a couple of unique options for browsing Instagram on an iPad. For one, it lets you view in either landscape or portrait mode (most support only landscape). For another, it lets you customize the home screen. On the other hand, it lacks a number of features found on other Instagram apps, namely the ability to see a list of your followers, share via other social networks, and view photos on a map.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

After launching the app, signing into your Instagram account, and authorizing the app to access Instagram, InstaFlow takes you to the home screen. Here, you'll see four "stacks" of photos: Popular, Feed, My photos, and Help. Tapping on one of the stacks opens that feed, where you'll see a scrollable grid of thumbnails. InstaFlow places 12 thumbnails on the screen, which makes each a bit smaller than what you see when viewing Instagram on an iPhone. I wish there was a way to pinch out to adjust the size of the photos so you'd see a smaller number of larger photos. You can, however, tap on a photo and then swipe sideways to view one large photo after another.

Unlike with other apps that show you the author of the photo, comments, the number of comments, or the number of likes, InstaFlow hides all of this information from the thumbnail view, as well as when swiping through large photos. All you see are photos, which presents a clean look. If you are the type that likes to see comments and who took the photo without tapping, however, you won't like InstaFlow's layout.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Tapping on a photo expands it. Here, you can see the number of likes, comments, and tags by the three icons next to the photo. There is another heart icon in the upper-right corner, which you can tap to like the photo you are viewing. Tap one of the icons next to the photo to flip the photo and see who liked the photo, the comments, or the tags. You can also tap the "i" icon in the lower-right corner to view all three pieces of information. With a photo flipped around, you can tap the speech-bubble icon along the bottom edge to add a comment. You can also tap the eye icon to follow or unfollow the user or tap the backward arrow to flip the photo back around. When viewing a photo, you can also tap the play icon at the bottom of the screen to play a slideshow.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

If you tap on a photo, you'll see a stack of photos for the author of the photo. Tap the stack to view all of the photos by this author. And from this thumbnail grid view, you can tap the heart icon in the upper-right corner to add this person's stack to your home screen. (Tap the heart icon again from the same view to remove a stack from your home screen, which you might want to do after digesting the helpful Help stack that InstaFlow provides.)

At any time, you can tap the house icon in the upper-left corner to return to your home screen. And you can search via tag, user, or place.